In the Freelancer Universe, the player's standing with various factions is determined by Reputation, a rough measure of one's standing with the various factions, shown in the form of a segmented bar. A player's reputation score with a particular faction determines how that faction's members will react to the player; thus, carefully cultivating a good reputation with the right groups is a vital strategy in Freelancer.
Effects of ReputationEdit
A green reputation bar with a particular faction indicates that it is Friendly. A friendly faction will never attack you or deny you docking privileges; in fact, they'll defend you if you're attacked by their enemies or neutral parties, and possibly even their own allies in certain cases. Friendly pirates will never demand that you dump your cargo; unfortunately, it cannot be said that friendly House Police and Military units will not scan your cargo for contraband. Friendly factions in bars on bases and planets are also willing to share rumors with the player.
A white reputation bar with a particular faction indicates that you are neutral with that faction. Neutral factions will not attack you without provocation; however, Neutral "lawful" units will temporarily turn hostile on you if you are hostile with the local House Police. Neutral bases will turn hostile and deny docking privileges if you are hostile with one of their allies, and those ships are in the same area as you and the neutral base. While neutral pirate factions will not simply attack you without provocation, they very well may demand your cargo (if you have any). If you do not comply or manage to escape in time, they will turn hostile. If you are on the "Friendly" side of Neutral with a faction, its members may share rumors with you in the bars of various bases and planets. Neutral factions that will not yet share rumors will often offer jobs or rep hacks instead.
A red reputation bar with a particular faction indicates that this faction is hostile towards the player, and will attack on sight. Hostile pirates will not bother demanding your cargo before attacking, nor will House Police/Military units bother with scanning your cargo for contraband. All requests to dock with a Hostile base will be denied.
Any time the player completes a mission for a faction, destroys a faction's ship or structure (such as a storage container), or pays a bribe (also known as a "rep hack"), the player's reputation changes dynamically with the factions depending on what was done to whom. By carefully cultivating one's reputation, the player can sculpt how NPCs react to the player's presence. There are several ways to adjust reputation:
By taking missions in the game at various bases, one can rapidly adjust one's reputation with several factions at once. It's worth noting that who one does the job FOR is more important than who one does the job AGAINST. Therefore, taking a job for the Liberty Navy is going to impress the Liberty Navy the most, as well as their allies to a lesser degree. However, the Navy's enemies, like the Outcasts and Liberty Rogues, will be less than thrilled to hear about your patriotism, making your reputation decline. Flying missions is a great way to get a better reputation, but it can be a bit difficult to fine-tune one's overall reputation this way.
Paying Bribes/"Rep Hacking"Edit
This is arguably the fastest way to adjust one's reputation with a faction. Functionally, it works pretty much the same as completing enough missions to get all the way to Friendly, except that it does it all at once. Of course, just like with missions, paying a bribe to a faction will sour relations with that faction's enemies. It's a good idea to make a separate save before bribing a faction, just in case this upsets the wrong factions. If you want, you can use saves creatively to get
- Notably, since the Zoners don't offer any missions of their own (missions offered at Zoner bases are actually offered by the Bounty Hunters), and also don't have any antipathy towards any factions, the only way to improve one's reputation with the Zoners is to pay a bribe. The Zoners don't have any enemies, and they have a somewhat positive reputation with Synth Foods and the Independent Miners Guild: therefore, bribing them won't have any negative effects, and will endear you somewhat to Synth and the IMG. Bribing the Zoners is a good insurance policy for travel in the Border Worlds and especially the Edge Worlds. It's also a good idea to periodically bribe the Zoners if one is grinding the Xenos for reputation, since they're one of the only factions that has a shred of empathy for the Xenos.
"Grinding" is a gaming term meaning "to repeatedly fight enemies to acquire XP, money, loot and other rewards". In this case, one grinds for reputation by choosing a faction that is unpopular with the faction(s) one wishes to impress, and then repeatedly destroying their ships and structures. Grinding is possibly the slowest way to raise reputation with a particular group, but as each ship destroyed only changes one's overall reputation slightly, as compared to flying missions or paying bribes, one can fine-tune one's reputation with the various groups, assuming one knows the victim's empathy.
By attacking storage containers outside of a faction's base, one can rapidly acquire cargo "liberated" from the destroyed containers, as well as quickly score points against that faction. Depending on how valuable the cargoes are, one may wish to take breaks from raiding storage containers to sell off the cargo: when you launch from the base where you've sold the cargo, the containers will respawn, allowing you to repeat the process. This can slow down the reputation gains somewhat, but depending on the cargo and how close the point of sale is, it can be highly profitable.
In this strategy, the player attempts to make the factions of Sirius as friendly as possible in an overall sense, and all pirate factions friendly along a chosen smuggling route. This is best accomplished by grinding Xenos and Bounty Hunters (two of the most unpopular factions in Sirius) and by paying periodic bribes to the Zoners and possibly other factions, such as the Bundschuh. Your goal is to make most pirate/criminal factions Friendly, while making House Police and Military factions neutral. Corporate factions should also be either Neutral or Friendly. This strategy can lead to easy cargo runs if one chooses to make pirate factions friendly along the route. However, it's possible to "nerf" the game this way, taking away much of the challenge of the game.